Integrity in Our World Today
In recent months, there have been many news reports on the moral failures of celebrities, politicians, pastors and public figures. With the advent of social media and technology, it seems like everyone is being held under scrutiny for everything they do. Even Britain’s Royal Family is not exempt!
With such news proliferating, it would seem that integrity is a rare currency these days. There is much pain, sadness and anger – not just for the people directly impacted, but even for members of the general public. Due to the level of detail and information available to us on the Internet, bystanders can now be intimately involved and passionate about bringing justice to a certain cause.
Allegations from racism to sexual assault are starting to prove that the masks of respectability are slowly falling off for some… and that anyone – in and outside the church – are not infallible. We are all capable of evil, of being wrong, of making mistakes, and portraying an image that is far from what others believe them to be.
The man in the iron mask?
Sin is often attributed to lack of integrity, but yet another is hypocrisy. Hypocrisy comes from the Greek word for actor, hupokrites, who in the ancient days displayed changes of emotion by switching masks held in front of their faces. It’s very much like the Sichuan opera art of bian lian, or mask-changing.
The Bible also has a lot to say about hypocrisy, emphasising its severity. In Titus 1:16, Paul warns of those who “…claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.” In the New Testament, Jesus called the Pharisees “hypocrites” for not practising what they preached. He used strong language like “blind fools”, “snakes” and “brood of vipers” (Matthew 23:13, 33).
Consistent on the inside and outside
The Bible exhorts us to be both hearers and doers of the word (James 1:22-23). The outer facade and the inner person are to be one and the same. That is the meaning of the word ‘integrity’. We are to be whole and undivided, consistent both internally and externally. As we are now in the season of Lent, this is perhaps a call for reflection and repentance.
No living Christian has arrived at perfection. We still battle with selfish desires, temptations and our own failure to be what we want to be. Thankfully, God’s love does not operate based on what we have or haven’t done, but on what Jesus Himself has done on the Cross. We are to set our minds on things above, and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). That is the powerful message of Easter!
Each accountable to God
Each of us has the responsibility to hold accountable things within our control and influence – beginning with ourselves. And for those outside our control, like celebrities or public figures we read about in the news, they will be held accountable by the right people and by the Creator Himself. For “…each of us will give an account of ourselves to God” (Romans 14:12).
Therefore, let us become more like Christ each day, while also interceding for others so that all may move closer to God and let His light shine into the dark corners of our hearts. Let us hold ourselves accountable, and submit ourselves to trusted ones to keep us accountable.
In this Lent season, may we look to the Cross, where the cleansing blood of Jesus washes away our sins, so that we may continually serve Him with reverence. Amen!
About the Author
Wan Phing Lim is a contributor to Our Daily Bread Ministries Malaysia. Born and raised in Penang, she studied Politics before turning to a career in writing. She loves coffee, books and films.
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